Saturday, March 1, 2014


Matt 18:7-9
7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Have you met any one-eyed or one-handed Christians

that have made themselves so for the offense of either of these little members?  More likely none of us have.  Yet we might know of someone who has “obeyed” one of the following “commandments” and died in the process.

Mark 16:17-18
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

While we do read of some Bible characters casting out devils, speaking with new tongues and laying hands on the sick, we find no Bible example of anyone’s purposely handling serpents or drinking poisonous liquids to make proof of his faith.       

An indisputable Bible doctrine is established by a clear Bible commandment to do something and a clear Bible example of its having been done.  Any doctrine not established by this “marriage” of commandment and example needs to be considered with utmost caution before accepting and applying it to our individual lives or to the corporate Church family. 

When a perceived Bible commandment is not accompanied with a clear Bible example, we might question if the perceived “commandment” may be an intended metaphor or perhaps a misinterpretation of scripture on our part.  However, far too often and for myriad reasons, we choose the stance of an absolute literalist concerning passages suggesting such things as taking up serpents and drinking deadly things (thank God, we tend to ignore that eye and hand thing).

What of this scripture that seems to require a hatred of natural family while the greater weight of the Bible teaches the opposite?

Luke 14:26
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

According to our principle of Indisputable Doctrine we should reject a literal interpretation of this passage.  There is just no example of a Bible character moving in the will of God ever hating his own family.  Jesus might just have intended this saying to be interpreted metaphorically: our Christian discipleship must have first priority in our lives.  In putting Christ first we will, however, rather than forsaking our family, love and serve them more than if we had preferred them above our Christian walk.

What of water baptism?  Many contend that we have a commandment of Jesus in Matthew chapter 28 to water baptize believers in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 

Matt 28:19-20
19      Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20          Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Others are adamant about water baptism in Jesus’ name, offering this passage in Acts 2:38 as biblical proof: 

Acts 2:38
38      Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Along with this passage, we might also consider this one from Romans:

Rom 6:3-4
3        Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4          Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Note: The way we are “buried with Him [Jesus] by baptism into death” is that we are baptized (buried) in His Name

While there are no Bible examples of anyone’s having been water baptized with the formula found in Matt. 28:19, there are at least three Bible examples of believers having been water baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (Acts 8:16; Acts 10:48; Acts 19:5).  We must conclude that if the Apostles and the early Church were not baptizing in gross error - and I firmly believe they were not - then they did, at the time of its writing, understand the passage in Matt 28:19 to mean some baptism other than that of an individual in water.  We might consider the possibility that Jesus was commissioning the Church to baptize (teach) all nations of the world in the understanding, in the name (nature; identity; character definition), of the Triune God, that is, of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, “Teaching them [the nations] to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” 

Do I believe we are bound for hell if we are water baptized under the authority of Matthew 28 and not Acts 2?  No, but we will surely remain ignorant of many truths contained in each if we don’t think outside of their assigned little boxes and apply this principle of Indisputable Doctrine to them both.  And, consider this: if not for applying this principle to Matt 18:7-9, Mark 16: 17-18 and Luke 14:26, we might be half blind and handicapped, snake bit and poisoned, as well as holding a lifetime hatred for our family. 

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